Mountain Passes in India

Mountain pass is a connectivity route through the mountain run. It is a gateway to connect different parts of the country and also with neighbouring countries for different purposes. This is an important topic in UPSC Geography and questions are often asked from this area in the IAS exam.

This article gives information regarding the major mountain passes in India and this topic is helpful for candidates appearing for various Government exams.

To complement your preparation for the upcoming exam, check the following links:

List of Mountain Passes in India – Location & Significance

The topic ‘Mountain Passes in India’ is an important topic for both UPSC Prelims and Mains as questions are framed from this topic both objectively and subjectively.

Some of the Important Mountain Passes India are:

  1. Zoji La
  2. Bara- Lacha Pass
  3. Mana Pass
  4. Shipki La
  5. Jelep La

List of Important Mountain Passes India 2023:- Download PDF Here

The table below presents the important passes in India with their details:

Name of the Pass Description
Nathu La Pass It is located in the state of Sikkim. This famous pass is located in the India- China border and was reopened in 2006. It forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient silk route. It is one of the trading border posts between India and China.
Shipki La Pass It is located through Sutlej Gorge. It connects Himachal Pradesh with Tibet. It is India’s third border post for trade with China after Lipu Lekh and Nathula Pass.
Jelep La Pass This pass passes through the Chumbi valley. It connects Sikkim with Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.
Qara Tagh Pass It is located in the Karakoram Mountains. It was a subsidiary of the ancient silk route.
Mountain Passes in Leh & Ladakh
Umling La It is the highest motorable pass in the country. It connects Leh to the Pangong Lake and was inaugurated in August 2021.
Khardung La It is the second-highest motorable pass in the country. It connects Leh and Siachen glaciers. This pass remains closed during the winter.
Thang La / Taglang La It is located in Ladakh. It is the second-highest motorable mountain pass in India.
Aghil Pass It is situated to the North of Mount Godwin-Austen in the Karakoram. It connects Ladakh with the Xinjiang province of China. It remains closed during the winter season from November to May.
Chang-La It is a high mountain pass in the Greater Himalayas. It connects Ladakh with Tibet.
Lanak La This is located in the Aksai Chin in the Ladakh region. It connects Ladakh and Lhasa. The Chinese authority has built a road to join Xinjiang with Tibet.
Imis La The pass has a difficult geographical terrain and steep slopes. This pass remains closed during the winter season. It connects Ladakh and Tibet.
Bara-La/ Bara- Lacha La It is situated on the National Highway in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It connects Manali and Leh.
Mountain Passes in Uttarakhand
Traill’s Pass It is located in Uttarakhand. It is situated at the end of the Pindari glacier and connects the Pindari valley to Milam valley. This pass is very steep and rugged.
Lipu Lekh: Uttarakhand-Tibet It is located in Uttarakhand. It connects Uttarakhand with Tibet. This pass is an important border post for trade with China. The pilgrims for Manasarovar travel through this pass.
Mana Pass: Uttarakhand-Tibet It is located in the Greater Himalayas and connects Tibet with Uttarakhand. It remains under snow for six months during winter.
Mangsha Dhura Pass: Uttarakhand-Tibet The pass which connects Uttarakhand-Tibet is known for landslides. The pilgrims for Manasarovar cross this route. It’s located in the Kuthi Valley.
Muling La: Uttarakhand-Tibet It is situated in the north of Gangotri, at an elevation of 5669 m in the Great Himalayas. This seasonal pass that connects Uttarakhand with Tibet remains snow-covered during the winter season.
Niti Pass This pass joins Uttarakhand with Tibet. This also remains snow-covered during the winter season.
Debsa Pass: Spiti Valley and Parvati Valley It joins Spiti Valley and Parvati Valley. It is a high mountain pass in between the Kullu and Spiti of Himachal Pradesh. It is a bypass route of Pin-Parvati Pass.
Rohtang Pass: Kullu-Lahul-Spiti This is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It has excellent road transportation. This pass connects Kullu, Spiti and Lahul.
Mountain Passes in the Northeastern States
Bomdi-La: Arunachal Pradesh-Lhasa The Bomdi-La pass connects Arunachal Pradesh with Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. It is located in the east of Bhutan.
Dihang pass: Arunachal Pradesh- Mandalay It is located in the Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh. This pass connects Arunachal Pradesh with Myanmar (Mandalay). At an elevation of more than 4000 m, it provides passage.
Diphu pass: Arunachal Pradesh- Mandalay Diphu Pass is a mountain pass around the area of the disputed tripoint borders of India, China, and Myanmar. Diphu Pass is also a strategic approach to eastern Arunachal Pradesh. It lies on the McMahon Line.

In October 1960 China and Burma demarcated their border to Diphu Pass, which is 5 miles south of the watershed of the mountain ranges. However, this caused a diplomatic row with India, which expected the tri-point to be at the watershed. The dispute has become part of the ongoing border disagreement between China and India regarding Arunachal Pradesh

Pangsau Pass It is located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. This pass connects Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.

Pangsau Pass or Pan Saung Pass, 3,727 feet (1,136 m) in altitude, lies on the crest of the Patkai Hills on the India-Burma (Myanmar) border. The pass offers one of the easiest routes into Burma from the Assam plains. It is named after the closest Burmese village, Pangsau, that lies 2 km beyond the pass to the east.

Mountain Passes in Kashmir
Banihal Pass (Jawahar Tunnel): Banihal with Qazigund Banihal pass is a popular pass in Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in the Pir- Panjal Range. It connects Banihal with Qazigund.
Zoji La: Srinagar- Kargil & Leh It connects Srinagar with Kargil and Leh. Beacon Force of Border Road Organization is responsible for clearing and maintaining the road, especially during the winter.
Burzail pass: Srinagar- Kishan Ganga Valley This pass joins the Astore Valley of Kashmir with the Deosai Plains of Ladakh.
Pensi La The Pensi La connects the Kashmir valley with Kargil. It is situated in the Greater Himalayas.
Pir-Panjal Pass It is a traditional pass from Jammu to Srinagar. This pass was closed after the partition. It provides the shortest roadway access to Kashmir valley from Jammu.
Mountain Passes in Southern India
Shencottah Gap: Madurai-Kottayam It is located in the Western Ghats. It joins the Madurai city in Tamil Nadu with the Kottayam district in Kerala.

The second-largest gap in the Western Ghats which is situated five kilometers from town is known by its name that is Shencottah Gap road-rail lines pass through this gap which connects Shencottah with Punalur.

Bhor Ghat Bhor Ghat or Bor Ghat or Bhore Ghaut is a mountain passage located between Palasdari and Khandala for railway and between Khopoliand Khandala on the road route in Maharashtra, India situated on the crest of the Western Ghats. It is located at an elevation of four hundred and forty-one meters’ elevation above sea level.

The ghat has a bit of historical evidence. The ghat was the ancient route developed by Satavahana to connect the ports of Choul, Revdanda Panvel, etc. on the Konkan coast and the surrounding areas on the Deccan plateau. Today the ghat plays a massive part of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway laid from Mumbai to Pune.

Thal Ghat Thal Ghat (also called Thul Ghat or Kasara Ghat) is a ghat section (mountain incline or slope) in the Western Ghats near the town of Kasara in Maharashtra. The Thal Ghat is located on the busy Mumbai–Nashik route, and is one of the four major routes, rail, and road routes, leading into Mumbai. The railway line, which passes through the ghat is the steepest in India with a gradient of 1 in 37
Pal Ghat The Palakkad Gap is located in the Western Ghats between the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. India at an elevation of about 140 m. The mountain pass is located between Nilgiri Hills in the north and Anaimalai Hills towards the south and connects Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu with Palakkad in Kerala. The mountain pass was an important instrument for human migration across India’s southern tip throughout settled history.

List of Important Mountain Passes India 2023:- Download PDF Here

Daily News

Interesting facts about the Passes in India

  1. The Dungri la pass or Mana Pass is the high altitude mountain pass and the highest motorable road with an elevation of 18,399 ft.
  2. Jawahar tunnel was constructed under the Banihal pass.
  3. Shipki La is a Himalayan pass that connects India and China.
  4. Zoji La pass connects the Ladakh and Kashmir valley.

Aspirants can also check other important Geography articles linked in the table below:

GI Tags in India List of National Parks in India Major Ports in India Biosphere Reserves in India
Natural Vegetation in India Major River Systems in India Important Lakes in India UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Frequently Asked Questions on Mountain Passes in India


Q 1. Which is the highest motorable mountain pass in India?

Ans. Umling La, inaugurated in August 2021, is now the highest motorable pass in India.

Q 2. Which are the important mountain passes in Southern India?

Ans. The important mountain passes in Southern India include Shencottah Gap, Bhor Ghat, Thal Ghat and Pal Ghat.

Related Links:

UPSC 2023 UPSC Syllabus
UPSC Geography Questions Strategy for Geography Optional for UPSC
IAS Topper UPSC Books
NCERT Geography Notes UPSC FAQ for IAS Exam
Time Table for UPSC Preparation Success Rate for Optional Subjects in UPSC
Top 5 Magazines for UPSC IAS Toppers Marks Subject Wise


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